By Dipo Olowookere
A society that ignores social injustice will always find it very difficult to progress and if care is not taken, things may get out of hands because the citizens will be frustrated and will make an attempt to fight back.
The recent #EndSARS protest is a perfect example because, after years of enduring police brutality, young men and women in Nigeria stood up to say ‘enough is enough’, daring the consequences.
Though there are still pockets of maltreatment of citizens by security operatives, the political class are conscious of the fact that if urgent steps are not quickly taken to address the issues raised during the protest, worse things may happen.
As all these are going on, a public relations expert, Mr Olutayo Irantiola, was inspired to mirror the societal decadence and the ruthless use of force by uniformed men through a drama titled With Our Uniform.
The satirical stage drama, directed by Lanre Quadri, came alive at the just-concluded Lagos Fringe Festival, where it was staged between November 20 and 22, 2020 at the Freedom Park, Lagos Island.
Mr Irantiola explained that his passion for using art to reform the society and instilling quality value inspired him to write the play which tells the story of how uniformed men extort innocent and unsuspecting citizens of their hard-earned income, just to augment their poor remuneration.
“With Our Uniform is a satire about the law enforcement agency – police force, fused with comedy and witty dialogue.
“The response of the law enforcement officers to the spate of protests in Nigeria is quite disturbing. My concerns are particularly about the injustice experienced by the majority of our young and vibrant youths in the country.
“I am committed to telling the Nigerian story through plays. My art seeks to explore the topical issues that affect the everyday Nigerian.
“The drama is an imitation of life and I am thrilled that it captures important facts in a subtle but entertaining way,” the promoter of the Yoruba culture and language said.
The convener of the Literary Reading Group, Atokun of Yoruba Lakotun, who said With Our Uniform is his debut, promised to tell more stories that will lead to the desired attitudinal change in the society.
Commenting on the play, Lanre Quadri said, “I am delighted we were able to bring our ideas to life and people were able to connect to the play. We were able to get talented crew and so rehearsals were done within a short time.
“I have always wanted to work on a project that addresses societal issues and I believe this drama would spur the change we desire. It also serves as a reminder of what was and what could be.”
Some of the cast of With our Uniform were Damilola Adebayo, Ismaila Adeshina, Agnes Olayemi, Ogunse Tosin, Akintunde Tosin, Osho Olowu Micheal, Adeniyi Oluwafemi, Christiana Ndukwe, Friday Onyenankeya, Lawrence Babatunde and Damilola Adeyinka.
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